USB Hard Drive won't format?!

By Jonny219 ยท 6 replies
Sep 16, 2006
  1. I just got myself a 40gig laptop hard drive and an external USB caddy. Disk manager lets me create a partition, but formatting doesn't work. Windows says that the drive is healthy. When I tell it to format, it gets to 100%, pauses a while then tells me "The format did not complete successfully". So while the drive is recognised by windows, it can't be used, which is really annoying me.

    Can anybody help? Or have I just got a faulty hard drive?

    Thank you,
  2. Blakhart

    Blakhart TS Rookie Posts: 353

    In this instance, I would pull the drive fom the usb case and install it into the system temporarily to format.
  3. Jonny219

    Jonny219 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Do I need to get some sort of converter plug to do that? (The title "Newcomer, in training" suits me pretty well!)

    And thank you for responding so fast!
  4. Blakhart

    Blakhart TS Rookie Posts: 353

    Sorry for my assumption. What I would do is open the case the drive's in, than see if the case is pata or sata. If it is pata most motherboards have the interface, and you can probably connect it to an existing ide cable. In this case you want to make sure that any drive jumper is set to whatever it should be, master or slave. If an existing pata drive is set to master, set the usb drive to slave, and vice versa. Usualy the drive has the jumper positions on the label. If the drive is sata interface, and you have a mobo that has sata connectors, just plug in a sata cable and power connector and format. That should get you going!

    You will have to google for examples of what pata and sata connectors look like, for some reason firefox isn't letting me cut and paste links, of all things.
  5. Jonny219

    Jonny219 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK, I may just be being a bit thick (sorry if I am). The laptop hd has 44 pins (+4 a short way off for jumpers), but all the spare connectors in my desktop (I have no laptop - I didn't mention that which probably confused things) have just 40 pins and are larger. The interface on the disk is 'IDE (Ultra ATA/100)', not sure how old it is, it is second hand.

    Thank you for being so patient with me, to me all of this is new, so I'm learning every step of the way!
  6. Blakhart

    Blakhart TS Rookie Posts: 353

    If the drive in the usb case has 'IDE (Ultra ATA/100)' printed on it you should be home free, just connect an ide cable, the one not connected to your existing hard drive, preferably where your cd/dvds usualy go, and format. You should be able to disconnect the cd/dvd for this use without any problems, if you must.
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,138   +985

    formatting Ext USB HD using FAT32

    I know this is an OLD post:
    but it is a current problem for many -- I just ran into it this week.
    USB FAT32 is possible up to 137gb

    Here's the scoop:
    1) External USB formatting in FAT32 is LIMITED to 32gb by Microsoft XP Disk Manager :(
    you get the symptom noted: "The format did not complete successfully"
    2) you can delete the partition, redefine it and then format as NTFS
    3) If you elect (2), then the USB portability to other systems has readability and security issues (ala ACLs)
    4) to keep FAT32, use 120gb devices or at least partition the device into 120gb portions.

    1) format Fat32 on Win/98se *if* your system will find and load the correct driver
    2) plug the device into your Linux box w/USB support and boot the system.
    Login as Root
    run more /var/logs/messages and scan for SCSI entries like: sda: sda1

    format the existing partition using mkfs.mkdosfs -i hdlabel /dev/sda1

    Once the External USB HD is properly formatted, it can be attached to Win/XP. Mac OS X, or Linux and used as intended.
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